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bear. We've got a large farm, and it takes a wants it ever so bad, except a little in the wingreat deal of hard work to carry it on; and ter, when father can't find any excuse for us to sometimes father isn't considerate : but he's a work out-doors. And yet, if he was only a good man in the main, and means well, and you mind to, you and I might both go to the aca. musn't allow yourself to get worked up so, for demy and to college ; for he's rich enough-I David's younger than you, and you ought to set know that; owns farms and woodlands, and has him an example.”
lots of money at interest. If we were real poor “Oh, don't be afraid of my influencing Dave, there'd be some excuse for our digging so." mother!" replied Tom, proudly. “As for said the boy, bitterly. kept me here, digging and delving ; but I see !" returned Tom, passionately. “I wouldn't can't stand it forever! And, if anything should mind working- I like work as well as anybody, happen that I can't stay here, you'll remember and never shirk my share, and would be willing that I told you 'twas only because I was ground to stay at home and help carry on the farin, down so, and hadn't anything pleasant like while you might go to college, for you care more other fellows!”
about books than I do; but he won't have it so! “There, Tom, I wouldn't think of it any Let him go his own way, and I'll go mine!" longer. 'Tisn't any use to brood over troubles And he sat down in the barn-door and looked -everybody has their share !” and the crushed steadily a-head of him, with his determination expression of the meek-eyed woman's face told imprinted on his set lips. that she had hers. “Come, my son! bring me It was a fair picture that lay beneath the yel. a pail of cool water from the well. I's time the low, hazy glow of the hot August noon-the dinner was on the table !"
comfortable old farmhouse, with its swal. Tom rose with alacrity-a sturdy, good- paned windows and gable-roof, the mossy well. looking lad of seventeen, with well-developed curb, with the tall, well-sweep above, and the limbs and handsomely-cut features. He would sunken watering-trough, overtopped by clumps do anything for his mother, whom he loved of plantain-leaves and white clover; the spa. strongly; for she, with his brother Dave and cious out-buildings at the right, wearing an air three little sisters, engrossed all the affection of neatness and fulness; the hired men at work the youth bestowed in the home, where the in the fields on the left, turning the hay in long stern father, so set” in his own notions of billowy swathes ; and beyond, the orchards
, right, repelled, instead of inviting, the con- fields of corn, and the still uncut meadow lot, fidence of his family.
sweeping down to the distant river. In this After Tom had brought in the pail of water, picture there was thrift, affluence, and comfort, and set it down on a bench in the open kitchen to an outside observer; but to the lad who sat in the rear of the room where his mother was viewing it with knitted brows, there were the at work, he went out the back-door : as he dark shadows of ceaseless toil and deprivation passed the corner, where the long gable-roof hovering over it. slanted down to the level of the branches of the “It's no use talking !” be said, at length, cherry and plum-trees behind the house, David, doggedly. "Father won't do anything different! who had been sitting on the cellar-step just out- He'll pinch and work till he dies, and everybody side an open window of the kitchen, rose, and round him 'll have to do the same. I suppose walked by his side down to the great barn, he's mad, now, because we're taking a bit of whose doors stood wide open, revealing the rest before the hands come up to dinner. full-stowed mows, and the fowl strutting to and But I reckon it'll be a long day, after this one, fro over the spacious floor, snapping up the before I put my hand to the mowing again!". scattered hay.seed or talking to each other in He spoke this last sentence under his breath, their own cackling tongue.
so Dave did not hear; but the determination of “I overheard what you said to mother after his dark brown eye did not abate, nor the dog. he went out,” said Dave, pointing over his gedness that lay about his lips; and he sat shoulder to where their father stood, unbitching quiet in the barn-door till his mother blew the a pair of farm-borses from a large rack by the horn that summoned the men from the fields to bars that opened in the hay-field. “Do you dinner. *mean to clear out, Tom ?” was questioned in a Next morning Deacon Morris rose at the first low, confidental tone.
cock-crowing, as was his wont. It was his "I shouldn't wonder if I did take his invita- boast that " nobody on his farm laid a-bed after tion,” replied Tom, with determined eye and the crack of day! He left the bed-room; mouth. “ I'm tired to death of digging, digging crossed the long, cool, dusky kitchen ; listed the all the time, and no fun at all. There's a wider hasp that secured the back door, and went out life out in the world, somewhere, and I'm into the fresh morning air. bound to have my share of it, and not stay The east was just beginning to be aglow with cramped up here.
But we won't talk of it any a soft, rosy blush; the rest of the sky was in; more now !" said Tom, evasively.
distinct and dull; the robins twittered and “Well, I shouldn't blame you a bit if you darted from the nests in the plum trees; the did run away,” replied fourteen-year-old Dave earth was moist and fragrant with its baptism “There's no good times on this farm, and a of dew. By-and-bye the fiery sun would mount fellow can't get any schooling, either, if he upward, and, with his hot breatb, wilt and wither
grass, tree, and flower ; but now all was cool | rest in the old grave-yard over the hill-she had and dusk, and still, save for that ever-increasing toiled hard at her tasks. She had always risen twitter of the robins and swallows which filled at four in the morning in summer, and five in all the air of the summer morn.
winter; she milked four cows, and prepared the Drawing a bucket of water from the old well, breakfast for her family and the hired men ; Deacon Morris poured it into the empty trough, made butter and cheese for market, the sale of stooped down and washed his face and hands, which was added to her husband's hoards, at and stepped back to wipe them on the coarse first to help pay off the mortgage from the roller which hung just inside the door; then went large farm he was trying to clear, and then to down the path that led to the great barn. He swell the funds he was investing in wood-lots swung its doors wide open, letting out a strong and pastures ; she raised flocks of turkeys and fragrance of new-mown hay from the high mows, geese-from a limited share of whose profits, and the heaped load that yet stood on the cart, as the Thanksgiving annual festivals came round, filling up the centre of the barn-floor; stepped she was expected to provide the winter stock of in and fed the horses; and then went down to clothing for herself and family; she spun yarn the yard where the cattle were. Buck and for sale, and all that was used at home; knitted Bright, the two working oxen, lay in one corner, socks in the long winter evenings; made and quietly ruminating, doubtless, of many a year's mended the clothes ; dried apples, and preserved patient drawing in sleds and carts; while a group fruits and berries ; did all the cooking, sweeping, of cows were in the other, huddled together, washing, and ironing: in short, combined in and one large black one reposed in lonely dignity herself the offices of wife, mother, housekeeper, in the middle of the yard, rolling her great eyes and servant-all in the person sf one slender, with a quick, bright glance upon her master. delicate woman, who never found an uninter
“Get up, there, Smut!" said the deacon; rupted hour to open a book for the cultivation while Chanticleer, perched on the topmost rail of her mind, which hungered and starved the of the fence, flapped his wings and crowed with while. all his might and main; and the full-uddered Can you wonder that she crept into her bed animal rose to her feet with an ungainly motion, every night with pains and lameness in every and, with a vicious lowering of her brass- joint?—that she aged so, that, at thirty-eight, mounted horns, retreated among her sister-group you would have thought her over fifty ?-that with a plunge which set them scattering in all she wore habitually that crushed, sad, weary directions.
look, as though life were very burdensome, and Order was hardly restored, ere Mrs. Morris the grave would not be so very dreary when she appeared at the barn-yard gate with a couple of laid down in it? milking-pails in her hands.
And yet no poet has ever written upon this Tom Hood immortalized the toils of England's theme! Possibly it is far too prosaic for them. sewing-women, who sat all day, and deep into Now and then some English tourist, who has been the nights, in stilling London garrets, plying received into the families of affluence this side their needles to the sad refrain of “ stitch! the water, chronicles a paragraph complimentary stitchl stitch !" the while their hungry eyes to “the delicate, spirituelle loveliness of American were ever getting hollower, and their pinched girls,” so different from the beef and beer faces were
weary, wan, and worn;" countless solidity of the women of his own nation, and mournful monodies, more touching than “The adds : " They fade early, and yet usually attain African Slave's Lament,” have been written on a long life; from which fact we may conclude that dusky nation; but what poet's pen has that they possess elastic frames and strong, ever chronicled the trials of the many over. wiry constitutions." worked, broken-down, New England farmers' Yes, “elastic” we know they must be, else wives, who have dragged-and still drag on-they could never endure so long; but the bow, their appointed rounds of toil, and never think long strained, must break at lasts and so these of listing off the harness, until it crumbles poor tired women go down to their graves, glad away from their poor weary frames at the wel- to find the rest they never had in life. come call of the Master, who bringeth not only Isaac Morris was deacon of the “ First sleep, but rest, to those he summons-even Church”-one of the pillars of orthodoxy ; death?
but he worked his wife, his children, and hired Hannah Morris was one of these. When she men hard; and added farm to farm, acre to left her own home, at eighteen, to become the acre, and hundred after hundred to his gains. wife of the “likely young farmer," who was “a On this August morning he looked frownreal worker,” and “would be fore-handed before ingly on his wife as she entered the barn-yard. he died,” her cheek was blooming and her eye " It's later than usual, Hannah! The cows was bright; but twenty years had aged her so, ought to a-been turned inter the lot before now, that few would have recognized the fact that for it's the dew on the grass that makes the she had ever known a girlhood of beauty or richest cream. Where's the hands? Abed elasticity of spirits, that now were dead to her yet? And the boys, too? That Tom has been for evermore.
huffy enough ever since the talk yesterday, beWhat a round of slavery that woman's life cause I wouldn't let him have his own way had been! The mother of seven children—the about that gambling-board, and he's goin' to eldest and youngest of whom had been lain to keep it up by layin' abed this mornin'; but
* Wall, David
, where's Hah! you helped him off, did you? You
I'll put him into harness to-day. After he's before we shall bear from him—that he's got sweat a spell down in the medder-lot I guess something to do somewhere, so he can make he won't feel like playin' them perdition-games his way. He'll let you know, I mean. He'll of bis ’n. Gee, Bright, over there!" flourishing , write to us, mother.” his long arm at the "nigh ox," which caused While David was talking, he did not see his that animal to wheel suddenly against the black father returning from the house with great, cow, to the imminent danger of upsetting the angry strides, and pause a moment behind him milking-stool which Mrs. Morris had just in the barn-yard and overhear his last sentence. placed beside her. l'om? Gettin' to be a fine gentleman before told him to steal his clothes-the best Sunday his father, layin' abed late of mornins'?” called suit I bought him-and clear out, did you ?" out the deacon, sarcastically, as his younger be cried, passionately, taking hold of David's son approached from the house, buttoning his collar, and swinging him round, facing him. shirt-collar sleepily as he came along.
Don't, Isaac Morris !” pleaded the poor “Tom, sir?" asked the lad. “Ain't he out trembling woman. "Don't hurt Davie! He here? I didn't know but that he'd been up isn't to blame ! But is Tom really gone?” she this ever so long."
asked, with a look on her face which betrayed “But he ain't! Nobody's come out of the that she expected, yet dreaded the answer. house before me, for the door wasn't unfastened. "Gone! of course he has—the young rasAin't he up-stairs yet?”.
cal! Stolen his clothes, too! Not a rag worth “No, sir!" replied David, a sudden light wearing is left in the press. I thought so the flashing across his brain, remembering his con- moment Dave came out without him. He's versation of yesterday.
been in regular sullen, slow fire all along these “ Where is he, then?"
last six months—ever since I forbid his goin' “That's more’n I can tell, sir !" answered to the singin'-school in the village, and that David, resolved not to betray his brother to his gambling diceboard, yesterday, fixed his flint father.
for him. But let him go. He's made his bed, Deacon Morris left the barn-yard and started now let him lag on it! He never shall darken off for the house.
ain, let what will happen ; and, if As soon as he was beyond hearing, the lad he comes back, I'll turn him away as I would walked up beside his mother, and said: “I a dog! And I forbid you from speakin' about shouldn't wonder if Tom had taken father at himn amongst you! Let his name be anathema his word, and gone, mother!"
and mar “Gone! Tom gone !" echoed the woman, “ Isaac Morris, don't curse your own son! pausing in her milking, and turning a wbite, said his pale wife, with more courage and dig. startled face upon her son.
nity in her tone than it had held for many a Yes, mother! But don't look so scairt!" year. “It ain't Christian-and you know you he replied. “You know what was said by 'em profess to follow the Bible.” both yesterday, and I guess Tom's made good The deacon stopped a moment, and a red flash his threat_not to stand father's treatment any came over the swart face, pale with anger
belonger! I thought he really meant so then, fore; then he said, contemptuously, “You go when he said it."
finish your milkin', woman, and not talk about But, ob, I've heard him say it so many things you don't understand! There! see what times before; and you don't really think he's you have done, now! Ten quarts of good new gone! You don't know it, Davie?" asked the milk lost !" (for just then old'" Smut” listed her poor mother, imploringly, rising from her bind-foot, and gave the pail a sturdy kick, milking-stool and laying her hand on his arm. which sent its contents in a foaming white pool
“Yes, mother, I do know that he meant to upon the ground). "I should think there'd leave—he told me so yesterday in the barn, been mischief enough done for one day! after he went out," answered David. “I can't David, did you know that Tom meant to run tell a lie to you. But I didn't think he meant away?” he asked, sternly, turning towards him to go so soon-to leave last night while we were again. asleep. He must have got out of the shed All the proud, manly blood of the boy's heart window, if the door was fastened when father was stirred. He hated his father, just then, for came down."
his cowardly attack upon his poor trembling “O Davie! Davie! I wish you'd told me !" mother, who had picked up her emply pail and said the mother, reproachfully. Why didn't turned to milk another cow; and he halfyou tell me? I'd have talked with him, and rejoiced in averting some share of the general coaxed him to stay. Tom was always a good blame to his own shoulders. So he did not boy, and would do anything I asked him to." reply evasively, or in the strict negative, as he
“ I tell you, mother, I didn't dream he meant might have done, but said, firmly, “ He told me to go so soon!” replied the lad, quite touched yesterday that he wasn't going to stand this by her distress, and a vague feeling of remorse sort of life much longer; though I didn't know coming over him now his elder brother was that he meant to go off last-night, sir.” really gone. “But don't feel so bad about it, “What sort of life do you mean, sirrrah?” mother!” he said, stoutly. “I know Tom. thundered the deacon, angrily. He's smart as a steel-trap; and ’twon't be long “The sort thai made Jack a dull boy-all
work and no play,' father,” replied the lad,, greyer, grimmer, w.ade longer prayers on Suncoolly.
day nights, said shorter graces on week-days, “Don't repeat over your potry to me, you and drove his bired help and family harder than young rascal!” was the irate command. “I ever. see how 'tis ; you two youngsters have put David was a young man of twenty-four now; your heads together to conjure up this plot, and helped "carry on the farm” under the surand you're as much to blame as he is. Come veillance of his father. Mrs. Morris looked round into the barn with me, sir !"
older and paler, and seemed always tired, but David obeyed. By the compression of his still toiled on from morning till night the same delicately-chiselled lips-his mother's lips they as ever, assisted only by her eldest daughter were-and the distension of his thin, proud Sarah; for the two other girls, Martha and nostrils, you saw that his spirit was aroused - Dorothy, girls of nineteen and seventeen, with a that spirit which has carried heroes and martyrs natural desire to escape the deprivations of their to their fate ; but, casting one encouraging, cheerless country home and to dress as well as smiling glance to the trembling woman who others of their age, had obtained situations in a paused in her milking with a stricken terror at distant city--the one as milliner, and the other her heart, he followed his father.
in a fancy-goods store, where her pretty face Deacon Morris shut the great barn doors attracted many customers to her employers. closely behind them. Yet he need not; for All were good, sensible girls; but DollieDavid would not have finched, or uttered a cry, for so her name was abbreviated shortly after if every blow of the lythe, darkly-red cowhide being transplanted to the city-was quite too had taken his heart's blood.
young to be removed from a mother's watchful Mrs. Morris rose from her task, put her hand eye at just the age when youthful vanity may be to her heart, and staggered f. intly up to the fostered into a dangerous flame by the breath of house; while Jim Bailey-one of the hired that class of admirers with whom many of her hands, who had come out in season to overhear fellows came in contact. a portion of the conversation--kindly took her
Tom had never been heard from-wayward place, and presently carried in the two foaming Tom, the first-born boy, whom the poor mother milk-pails. At six o'clock the sound of the horn brought though his name was always " banned, barred,
ever mourned, and David daily thought of, Deacon Morris and his men into breakfast, and forbidden,” when the stern ruler of the David also was in his place; but no food passed family was nigh. If Tom bad ever written his blue, pale, set lips. He was too sick to home, no such letter had been received; and eat; and his lacerated shoulders quivered and none knew whether he was living or deadthrobbed under his coarse gingham shirt. When what distant or near shore held him now-or if the meal was ended, the deacon said, with a his life's barque had crossed the Dark River to preparatory 'hem :
the Unknown Beyond. "David, you may get yourself ready to go down to the medder lot and mow, to-day. Now
“ Hannah Morris was failing," the neigh
bours said. “ She had the old-fashioned conTom's gone on his own evil way, you'll have to kuuckle down to a purty fair share of his work. sumption. Sometimes folks lived for years, 1 shan't have no gentleman in my family. Let but they generally went sudden at last!' and this mornin's lesson be a warnin to you. You her loss was often prophesied to the oid deacon, needed the chastisement of the rod, and I have who grew more stern, penurious, and “set,” as administered it for your own good.”
the years rolled by. David did not reply, but he set his lips to
Some who pitied the poor, almost worn-out gether more firmly as he rose, took down his woman, were bold enough to express a hope straw hat from its peg on the wall, and went that "if Deacon Morris ever got a second wife, put. But that night—when the poor, almost 'twould be somebody who wouldn't be the beart-broken woman crept up to his chamber slave poor Hannah had been ;” and even sea few moments, to bathe his lacerated back-he lected for him a grasping, avaricious, masculinesaid: “Mother, if 'twarnt for you, I'd follow framed widow, whose farm joined his, and Tom before daylight. But, for your sake, I'll whose " tender mercies” had proved “cruelties” stay here and try and obey father.”
to the two former spouses whom she had buried The next day was the Sabbath-the calm, in the old graveyard over the hill. Therefore, blessed New England Sabbath-and Deacon great was the astonishment of the quiet farmingMorris attended church three times, and, at the town when the tidings circled throughout its family altar, prayed with great emphasis for breadth, one hot Jnly day, that Deacon Morris " the rebellious and godless, who rise up against had fallen from a haymow to the floor of his the rule of their elders in the land.”
great barn-broken a hip, and sustained such And the passages he read from the Holy severe internal injuries, that old Doctor Benson Book were culled from those portions red with had expressed his opinion that he could not the terrors of the Law, till all the still air of survive. the summer twilight seemed to quake with the There was a great sensation throughout the dread resonance of his stern, emphatic voice. neighbourhood. Hay was left in long swaths ; Ten
years went by. No marked changes had horses were detached from racks and harcome to Deacon Morris, except that he was passed into light buggies, for their owners to ride
15. Perhaps, after all, it was the hand of Pro
over to the “Morris place" and see how the years before, beneath which slept the first-born deacon really was.
little Hannah, and the later one which held the But the fiery July sun mounted higher over buried baby-boy, last link between the mother's the hayfields, and sunk to his bed in the crim- heart and Heaven. son-piled west; the hot summer night came But by-and-by-when the estate came to be down, 80 sultry to the strong and well, and settled, and it was known how many broad almost stilling the breath, growing ever shorter acres that grasping man had owned, and how and fainter, on the lips of the dying man. many thousands were left, invested in bank.
At sunset the family were gathered in the old stocks or in mortgages on farms wide-scattered bedroom adjoining the long, roomy kitchen. through the country-there were not wanting The tall, antique clock ticked solemnly; the those who said :great cat pattered up and down the floor, paus. ing before each one of the group, as if asking vidence that took Deacon Morris away. His the meaning of the strange quiet that had family can have some privileges now. Tom fallen on the household, usually busy at this will stay at home, of course, and he and David hour; a tame toad hopped out from its bed manage the farm; and the girls wont need to under the plaintain-leaves by the well-curb at go away and earn their living, with all that pro. the back door, and squatted upon the flat stone perty left to be divided amongst them." at the threshold, only to be stirred from its post
But it was too late. Habit becomes second by the footstep of a tall, bronzed, bearded man, nature. The seed had been sown, and the who strode hastily into the little footpath leading harvest must be reaped. around from the lane, crossed the kitchen floor, Money and lands were lest for the inheritance and joined the group in the bedroom.
of Deacon Morris's children, to be sure ; but it At any other time Mrs. Morris would have could not benefit them now as it might have in turned paler, and pressed her hand to her heart, earlier years. as she had a habit of doing when agitated; but Had not Tom-high-spirited, passionate, but now she only drew Tom's hand into hers, and noble-hearted Tom-been driven from his boy. whispered “Just in time,”
hood's home by bis father's harshness and the And David, too, awed by the Strange Pre- denial of the harmless indulgencies and relax. sence whose noiseless footstep was creeping over ations necessary to his years, he would not have the bedroom floor toward the dying man upon now felt the rover's unquenchable craving for the pillows--be had no time for ejaculations of the ten-year-gone life of adventure on foreign surprise and welcome; while (Sarah-good shores, to which, after a few months at the old faithful girl-scarcely stirred from her station homestead, he returned again. by the bed, where she was moistening the lips Had not David-at fourteen, high-browed, of the unconscious man.
earnest-eyed, and with a scholar's ambition in “ Am I in time? Do you know me, father?" his active brain-been dwarfed and mentally asked Tom in a husky voice, going close to starved, while his young, growing frame was the bedside, a tear stealing down the cheek made an instrument for the commonest labour browned by the kisses of ten years' foreign er's toils, he would not, at twenty-four, have suns and winds.
settled into hopeless inertness and stolidity, But no response came. The dulled ear could careing for nothing beyond the rounds of the not hear, the dimming eye could not see, the farm on which he remained, and at length stiffening tongue could utter no word. Tom marrying a commonplace girl, whose mind was stood, vainly waiting for what did not come ; of lower type of cultivation than his own, thus and then, with a choking sensation in his throat, precluding the oftimes privilege of the wife liftstepped back to his mother's side again. ing her husband out of the slough into which
Just then old Parson Meanwell, who had lack of early education or depraving circumentered the bedroom a half hour before, knelt stances may have cast him. and offered a prayer for the sinking man; but Had not Sarah--the good, faithful, practical ere it was concluded, the breath had fluttered elder daughter – witnessing the example of her out from his pale, blue lips. And so Deacon hard working mother, been brought up to think Morris " died and made no sign.”
all of her sex born to fill the niche of household The neighbours talked it over that night drudge, she would never have made her own about Tom's return. “What a pity that the life an exact copy of that mother's, and retwo younger girls couldn't have been there, too! signed the control of her own inheritance to the But the despatch didn't reach them in season. close-fisted, calculating farmer, who sought her It was singular that Tom should have got there hand because he reckoned rightly that she would just in time !"
become a “smart,” “capable," "working" The funeral was large, as befitted a deacon of wife to help him acquire more property. the Orthodox Church. All the deacon's good And Mattie and Dollie, too! Lively, pretty
, points—“the upbuilding of Zion,” in which he apt girls, who, under the discipline of educahad assisted—' the great loss to his family, tion and cultivated society, would have ripened which could never be repaired,” were dwelt into sensible, intelligent women, who would upon in the lengthy sermon and the prayer ; and have influenced for the better all with whom then they laid him away in the grave hollowed they came in contact; had their youth been cast beside the tiny mound raised there nearly thirty under fostering circumstances, how widely